Campaigners who have taken a Brentford boat mooring proposal to the High Court are calling for help to ensure their challenge is not sunk by legal fees.

Several groups are together opposing a plan to allow boats to moor by the mouth of the River Brent, where it joins the Thames – creating a serious safety risk for boats, according to campaigners.

Brentford Community Council’s waterways sub-committee has sent an SOS, asking for help to raise £3,000 to pay for the Environmental Law Foundation’s continued work on the case.

Applicant of the legal challenge and boater, Nigel Moore, said: “I would appeal first of all to the boating fraternity to support this effort, for the sake of maintaining the present degree of safety and ease in navigating between the Thames and the Grand Union Canal. But for the public in general as well as boaters, protecting the public rights of navigation is a vital issue that affects us all, both in principle and to protect potential increased use of the waterways, whether pleasure or commercial. ”

Campaigners believe that using the waterway – designated by the Department for Transport as one of the core waterways in the country with the potential for freight transport – for commercial purposes would result in lorries being taken off roads.

The mooring proposal, submitted by a private development firm, was originally turned down by Brentford area’s planning committee but an inspector working on behalf of the Secretary of State granted an appeal. The judicial review in the High Court seeks to overturn this.

Committee member, Councillor Andrew Dakers, said: “It is disappointing that British Waterways seems to have given up on the freight potential of the Grand Union..”

A spokesman for British Waterways, which backs the proposal, said: “British Waterways, which supports the proposal, believes the canal’s proximity to the Thames creates problems for transport because the two routes are governed by different legislation.

Kim Milnes, its sustainable transport manager, said: “We have yet to have any enquiries from any freight operators who wish to use this route; we are however working with operators in other London locations where there is commercial interest in using the canal to transport freight."

Contributions should be sent to community council chairman Stephen Browne, who can be contacted at Cheques should be made payable to Brentford Community Council and sent to 59 Holland Gardens, Brentford TW8 0BF.

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